Is It Possible to Practice Music in an Apartment?

Is It Possible to Practice Music in an Apartment?

By Jasmine Reese - Whether you're a student or professional musician, it doesn't matter. You will worry about what your neighbors or roommates think when you practice. I've even heard some people say they have held off on starting to learn a musical instrument because of living in a shared space or apartment complex.

So, does this mean musicians live alone? Or in some large house with soundproof bedrooms or music rooms? No.

The reality is a musician has to learn to navigate practice around his or her circumstances. Here is a guide to practicing when living in a shared space or apartment-type building.

Set a Time and Duration

It's not always realistic to stick to a time, but if you're a predictable "noise-maker," your non-musician neighbors may be less likely to complain. They'll know that from 2 pm to 4 pm, Monday through Friday, Johnny will be sawing away at his fiddle.

Notify and Coordinate with Neighbors or Roommates

You can always go above and beyond. Visit your upstairs, downstairs, and next-door neighbors, and tell them you're a musician. Explain the times and days you'll be practicing.

Try to compromise in certain sensitive situations. For example, your upstairs neighbor might be a new mom, and 1 pm to 2 pm is the only time she gets to sleep. Try to work around circumstances such as that, and your neighbors will also want to work with you.

For roommates, it'll be a lot easier to find out their routines and draw out your own regimen around it. Of course, you can approach them in the same courteous and respectful way.

Also, remember to follow the noise ordinance for your housing facility.

Use Silencer Devices or Practice Instruments

Unfortunately, life is unpredictable, and not everyone can stick to an ideal routine. In addition, some people work odd hours, and therefore might only be able to practice when everyone else is trying to sleep or study.

Thankfully, most instruments have some type of way to deaden the volume.  For string instruments, you can purchase a practice mute. Other instruments have smaller versions of themselves specifically made with the traveling and practicing musician in mind. Electric instruments are also beneficial since you can turn down the volume or unplug the amp.

Find Another Space

This option requires the most legwork and takes you out of the comfort of your home. Sometimes, local community colleges, universities, and other venues offer rooms for musicians to practice in. You can split your practice times between your dwelling and another place.

If you have friends nearby with a house, garage, or other space, you can also ask about practicing there. But, hopefully, the first few tips keep your neighbors happy and supportive of your musical journey.

Remember, most people who live in shared spaces know that they are not going to have complete peace and quiet. For you, it's unrealistic to try to live up to some self-imposed noiseless existence.

Instead, people living in these spaces must learn to coordinate and work with each other to best keep the peace and happiness of their small community.

In summation, use the ingredients above (compromise, empathy, schedules, and mutes)  to come up with a respectful plan of practice.

Do you live in an apartment or shared living space? How do you negotiate music practice? 
Please comment below.


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